Fieldbus product: Some companies benefit from networking confusion
The variety of networking platforms available for control systems does not seem to be getting any simpler. In fact, to most observers, the opposite is true. Keeping networks and individual devices talking to each other cross-platform is a challenge, but one company has made such communication its primary business. HMS Industrial Networks just passed an impressive milestone, delivering their 500,000th Anybus device, designed to bridge the communication gap between incompatible devices and networks.
HMS doesn't offer a fieldbus or networking platform of its own, but it specializes in expanding the connectivity of devices and networks through their NP 30 processor. HMS says that this unit, available in a variety of forms to OEM's and end users, now has passed the half-million installed mark with no signs of slowing. Using this module, any device can be connected to the following network platforms: Profibus, Profinet, DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, Modbus Plus, Modbus-RTU, Modbus-TCP, CC-Link, ControlNet, CANopen, Interbus, FIPIO, Powerlink, EtherCat, FOUNDATION Fieldbus, Lonworks, AS-Interface, FL-net, USB, and Bluetooth.
Most of the units HMS sells are to OEMs, who embed them in their devices. With this module, they can sell the same transmitters in any of the available networks simply by changing the module. "It's really encouraging to see how popular the embedded Anybus technology is, given that it's most likely the beginning of flexible and intelligent communication interfaces," says Nicolas Hassbjer, CEO. End users can also take advantage of the same technology to use individual devices on networks they would not otherwise support. "Right now, we're selling maybe 20% to end users," says Trevor Lang, sales and marketing manager for U.S., "but I think the percentage will grow over time."
— Control Engineering Daily Daily News Desk
Peter Welander , process industries editor